Slate.com just published a great article, written by a high-school junior, about her campaign to de-gender McDonald’s toys. I’m impressed by the article, and the initiative of the girl who wrote it. I wish I had been that committed to change at her age. Heck, I wish I were that committed NOW.
I’m hopeful that the promise she’s been given by McDonald’s chief diversity officer, Patricia Harris, will bear fruit and that they actually are changing their policy. I’m appreciative that though this letter was written in December and it is now late April, that McDonald’s is a very large organization, and that it takes time for such dictates to make their way through to individual franchises.
But I’m not going to get excited until I see it actually happen in my neck of the woods.
My daughter K is mildly obsessed with superheroes. And while I take full responsibility for having planted the initial seed (and watering it daily with encouragement and the occasional new superhero-themed book or shirt), she’s taken the idea and just run with it.
“K, what do you want to wear today?”
“A superhero shirt, superhero underwear and pants that tie…if we have them, please.”
When we first introduced K to superheroes – your typical Batman, Superman-type fodder – she expressed an interest in them, but it didn’t become a daily undercurrent. And in fact, her enthusiasm was dampened for a bit last fall when a classmate told her that his daddy said, “Girls can’t be superheroes.”
Interludes from K this week:
1) K sees someone on the street and says, “I think that person is a witch” (woman is wearing all black with a black hoodie that’s up, kind of like the point of a hat).
We pass the woman, K glances back and says, “no she’s not a witch.” I say “what does a witch look like?”
This week, J moved out. We knew it was coming. It’s been more than two years since we agreed to divorce, and it was past time. While it’s a necessary step, and one that in some ways I welcome as the beginning of a new phase in my life, that doesn’t lessen the tinge of sadness that accompanies this inevitability. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone who you’ve been so close to for so long – even when you know he’ll be just down the street.
There’s no question that we have an unusual situation. Of course it has certainly been a challenge, and figuring out the best way to acclimate K to it has been the most important part. But I’ve been surprised that the most frustrating aspect of the transition has been dealing with the perceptions of other people.
This post is nearly a week late, but I couldn’t finish the week without acknowledging my munchkin’s third birthday.
On Monday, whenever someone asked K about the crown she was wearing or what was special about the day, she would explain, “It’s Happy Birthday to Me!!” When one of her teachers said to her, “Oh it’s your birthday? Could it be my birthday too?” K replied: “Well, it could be your birthday, but it’s not because it’s my birthday, but it would make you sad if I told you it wasn’t your birthday, so we can pretend it’s your birthday if you want even though it’s actually my birthday.” The teacher said she’s never been told “no” quite so politely in her life.
But this is K. She’s smart and articulate, crazy and hilarious. Her thought process is fascinating to watch and her individual sense of self and style is something I hope devoutly that she keeps in the face of peer pressure as the years go on.
On Facebook today, I was pointed to a great article in a local blog about a high school commencement speech from Friday, which was, in a word, fantastic. But before I get into why, let’s take a step back.
I frequently have conversations with friends where we lament the inability of “the younger generation” (shudder. I can’t believe I just said that.) to fend for themselves. The sense of entitlement seems currently to be out of all proportion with reality. Virtually an entire generation has been raised to be praised, petted and catered upon. We give awards for showing up, and tell our children that they are smart, when they’re merely being average; that all that matters is that you tried your best even though we know that the wider world cares about results than it does about effort.
Even with my own generation, I’ve often commented (before the recession) that my generation seems to think that we’re entitled to be fulfilled by our job. That we deserve to find a job that not only pays us well, but that fulfills us as people and our desire to do good in the world (two things, sadly, that are usually mutually exclusive).